top of page
  • Rob

NOW PLAYING: 'MAINSTREAM' BY LLOYD COLE & THE COMMOTIONS...

I’m a complete Lloyd Cole fanboy and was alarmed to find that I didn’t have this album on vinyl!  I was about to buy it and my better half suggested I stick it on my Christmas Wishlist so that people who struggle to know what to get me have something they know I want.


So here we are, another record from the Christmas 2023 haul, and what a record!  I’ll admit that this is probably the least loved Commotions album but it has some of their absolute best work included on it.


The first single released from the album, ‘My Bag’, kicks things off and was one of the first tracks that piqued my interest in the band in the late 80s.  I didn’t know it at the time, but the track is a tale about coked-up stockbrokers, “Meet me in the John, John.  Meet me in the John…”


‘Jennifer She Said’, was the second single released off the album and is and one of their biggest hits.  It is an absolute live favourite, I’ve seen people dancing and singing their hearts out to this track in packed theatres, festivals and even intimate acoustic gigs.  Worldy.


The next track is ‘From The Hip’ which is one of my all-time favourite songs, proper maudlin Cole and a sign of things to come with his solo work (which I very much appreciate).  A song about violence and abuse, not the cheeriest of subjects, not the cheeriest of songs but still brilliant to me.


The album also contains fan favourite ‘Mr Malcontent’ which is about a slacker who would rather waste time than face the world and is based on Daniel Day Lewis’s character in ‘My Beautiful Launderette’ according to Wikipedia.


One of the best/cheekiest songs is ‘Sean Pen Blues’ whicently inspired by a story Cole read about Penn being invited to a poetry reading which was set up purely to mock him!  “Mister Madonna kicks some beat poetry…”. It is a really good track.


Another good song is ‘Hey Rusty' which was produced by Stuart Copeland of The Police. It sounds to me like The Commotions trying to do a track off U2’s ‘Joshua Tree’ but kinda in the music style of Bruce Springsteen - I know, I know, I’m not selling this, it is better than I’m making it sound!!!


The record marked the end of The Commotions with keyboardist Blair Cowan leaving before the record was finished and bass player Lawrence Donegan being on the verge of walking away for most of the recording.  The band broke up after the record was made but was forced to stick together for another year as they were contractually obliged to tour and promote it.


As a body of work, it is behind their previous release ‘Easy Pieces’ and miles off their debut ‘Rattlesnakes’ which is by some distance their best work.  It still has some of my all-time favourite Commotions songs on it though so will always have a place in my heart.


If you fancy a copy there are plenty on eBay and Discogs with prices that reflect their condition.  This 2020 remaster is available from Amazon/HMV etc for about £28.


Tracks To Try: ‘My Bag’, ‘From The Hip’, ‘Jennifer She Said’, ‘Mr Malcontent’, ‘Sean Penn Blues’, ‘Hey Rusty’.



Comments


bottom of page